Flavor of the Week: Overeager Typer’s Syndrome


I grew up spell checking my diary entries. Words were my first love, so like a good girlfriend, I was obligated to know them inside and out. At a relatively young age, I familiarized with the smooth curves of the comma. I used the two dots of a colon to conceal gaping holes in my heart. Our relationship was like an M-dash, whatever that simile means.

But eventually, my love left me with nothing but a black iPhone 5s to cover all the bases — writing down ideas in Notes, sending dozens of emails a day, communicating on Facebook, complaining tweeting — and suddenly it seemed there was no room left for grammar and punctuation. I was never too lazy to write intelligently, but somehow, the iPhone made my anal grammar tendencies feel oddly out of place.

Our texting abbreviations became contagious. So once I started getting sloppy on text, I found myself getting sloppy everywhere. And once I felt as familiar with Sloppy as I previously felt with my ex, Proper, strange shenanigans started to occur.

Typing formally when I needed to became incredibly disorienting. It felt so unfamiliar, that I had to make a super self-conscious effort to use periods and to avoid sounding like I was texting my best friend about this week’s constipation. I became overtaken by Overeager Typer’s Syndrome, something I believe many of you suffer from. OTS is triggered by certain situations, enumerated below:

The Babysitting Job
It usually goes a little something like this:
Young MILF: Hey, r u around 2 watch the girls on Sat ? . . ? LMK thx
Me: Hi! Yes! I’m around any time after 7! What time would you need me!? Let me know! Thanks!

Or, like this:
Young MILF: Hey, r u around 2 watch the girls on Sat ? . . ? And next fri? And how about that Sun as well? LMK thx
Me: Hi! I’m so sorry! I’m not around on Saturday! But I luckily will be around next Friday! I’m not sure about Sunday, but can I let you know later this week? Let me know what time you need me! Thanks so much!

Do you sense the pattern?

Or shall I say, Do you sense the pattern!!!!!!!!!!!

Now, consider The Internship Email
This is a real email exchange between an editor and myself:

Hi *****,

My name is Hannah Pasternak and I was referred to you by **** over at ****. Currently, I am a student at Brown University and am extremely interested in a summer editorial internship at ****. 

As a previous college intern at **** herself, **** spoke very highly of ****’s program and the invaluable experience she obtained during her time there. 

As I’m sure you can imagine, my email continued for a few more paragraphs just as fancy-shmancy. This was the response I received:

hi hannah, thanks for reaching out. i sent this along to the persons that handles intern stuff – if you hit me up in 2 weeks, if you haven’t heard anything, i’ll pass along our person’s email if that’s cool.

On a scale of Kate Middleton to Solange Knowles of how ridiculous I felt, it was very in the realm of Solange.

I’ve spoken to other people who have this problem too — we’re so used to our girlfriends misinterpreting our texts, knit-picking every word to try and sniff out a hint of anger, that we feel the need to walk on ice around those superior to us. Everyone from the MILFs down the block to potential employers.

I always get this feeling of stupidity when I realize how formal I sound. But at the same time, I don’t want to seem immature or unprofessional by typing with that ol’ millennial jargon.

When my mom drives, she dictates texts for me to type out on her phone. I used to get so nervous whenever she insisted I use a period to end a single-sentence text, because I thought she’d sound mean and the woman on the receiving end would get mad. My mom thought I was ridiculous.

The best remedy for Overeager Typer’s Syndrome? Get the vaccine before it even starts. A text is just a text. Make it a mantra.

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